Giovanni Maddaloni, who goes by the name Gianni, was born in Naples in September 1956. At the start of the 1970s he became a judoka, training with the Dai-To Club in his home city. He took the club to new heights, becoming regional champion in 1978. Maddaloni has been a coach since 1982; he served as regional technical director from 1993 to 2003 before becoming sports advisor to Italy’s senior national team in 2005. He does his main work at Star Judo Club Napoli, which was set up 1988 in the heart of Scampia, one of the most disadvantaged areas of Naples. By setting up the sports club, Maddaloni has become the leading light of a project of which the fundamental purpose is drawing young people away from the jaws of crime. His teaching is based around three key principles: education, discipline and rules. Another key ingredient is love, which he brings to every initiative he’s involved with, from talking with troubled youngsters at schools to accepting anyone who wants to come to his gym, even if they lack financial resources, and teaching judo like a father would, rather than simply being a coach. The result of Gianni’s dual role of father and coach is best seen through the successes of his children: Pino, winner of a gold medal at Sydney 2000 and a former national team coach; Laura, a European bronze medal winner; and Marco, two-time European champion. Over the years, Gianni Maddaloni’s work has been recognised by various institutions. Italy’s justice ministry praised the Star Judo Club for its work to help the rehabilitation of young people with a criminal past. People even speak of the “Maddaloni method”, due to his commitment and dedication, which continues to inspire many. He has been dubbed “O Mae’”, meaning “master”. Maddolini has chronicled his experience in two books: La Mia Vita Sportiva (My sporting life) and L’oro di Scampia (Gold of Scampia), the latter being the inspiration of a TV film about his life, produced by Rai and starring Beppe Fiorello.